How to guarantee your hackathon will fail?

If you simply plan on seeing what happens you will always succeed at seeing what happens because something is guaranteed to happen.

Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

Eric’s quote applies to any new project and hackathons are no exception. Unfortunately, most hackathons are failures because the organizers don’t set a metric for success. Too often we see corporate hackathons without a business goal – inevitably “something happens,” just not what anyone envisioned.

What could go wrong?

Actually, a lot. A colleague of ours attended a hackathon hosted in the basement of a building – no wifi or cell coverage. The participants left after the first hour. Yikes. Try explaining that to the sponsors…

While this is an extreme example, most corporate hackathons have preventable problems – poor attendance, teams without the right skills, irrelevant projects, late starts, not enough of coffee (gasp!), network failures…

But the biggest preventable problem starts at the beginning.


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